Thursday, January 14, 2010

WOO......Why it may work and why science cant prove it.

I have been blogging for about 3 yrs now and have listened to many people talking about health care. In many instances there is a side that is very much againsnt what they called "Woo" or "alternative" therapies. By this, they mean many of the touch based therapies such as, Acupuncture, Reiki, Therapeutic touch, Chiropractic and also my profession, Massage Therapy. It seems that unless science conclusively backs up certain treatments then many of these individuals want nothing to do with it. If there is some anecdotal evidence showing some success they many times pass that off as just a "placebo". I wonder though, whats the difference if your pain relieved by placebo or a drug? Also isnt it common that many of the drugs only work for some people and not all? Why is it that someone would feel more certain of a therapist using ultrasound for a muscle strain when many times physical touch has the same benefit. I believe this belief system actually has hurt much of our health care system and is in dire need of an overhaul.
I am going to point out that there are many things that science(to this point) is unable to accurately measure. So because of this I believe that many of these so called "Woo" therapies are actually beneficial and vital to our health.
When assessing these touch based therapies is it possible to account for many of the emotional factors that come into play when being treated?


If any or all of these emotions are not outwardly apparent to the patient, wouldnt it stand to reason that they may be hesistant or resistant to the therapists performing their treatment? And if so, wouldnt that factor in to the quantifiable results of the treatment? How from a science perspective do we measure these powerful forces? It is similar to friendship. Why are some people our friends and others are not? How do you scientifically measure it? So, is it more likely that a therapist that is trusted and liked more capable of getting better results than one that isnt?
There is another area I believe to be beyond science(at this moment), and that is the calibre of treatment being performed. There are multiple reasons why this may be the case when a therapy is being applied.

Body Type
Technical Skill

A major factor that plays into my profession is the skill of the therapist and the response of the patient. What I mean by this is that many patients that I see dont respond to my techniques but do respond to another therapist. Does that mean I am not a good therapist? Of course not, it just means I am not the "right" therapist for those individuals. Now I ask you this, how would we be able to measure this scientifically and have it relatable to the therapy rather than the therapist? It has been very apparent to me in my profession that certain individuals respond to certain techniques. There are so many factors that play into this that I wonder if it is even remotely possible(at this time) to scientically measure it.
If I go see any of these so called "Woo" therapies with pain and I leave feeling better and my life returns to a relatively normal existence, I dont really care whether science says that is "real" or a "placebo". All I know is that Im pain free. Im sure there are millions of people who would agree.
For all those that dont, I suggest you get a Massage and Chill out(science agrees with that one).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rules, Play by the Rules!

This post was inspired by my fellow blogger Sabio Lantz at this post. Here is a small exerpt.

" I laugh at my mind constantly. She (my mind) is so silly, so primitive, so deluded, so stubborn, so dull. I mean, how many times have I told her something is not true or not so and yet she keeps coming back with the same perceptions and conclusions. She is totally unruly."

What game do you play?

I find it interesting that when we come to blog with others we forget what game they are playing and by what rules they play. We then attempt to insert our rules into their game. This is true for most of us, be it Atheist, Theist, Deist or what have you. Sometimes its like  a football player coming to a baseball game. The collisions may be fun to watch but they have little to do with the actual game being played. I wonder, if there is not a consensus on the game and the rules, is it actually possible to enjoy playing?

In any game are the rules absolute?

The rallying cry of the absolutist. "Its not fair, youre not playing by the rules". Is it possible for anything to be absolute? Regardless of what game we play or subject we study there is always something we let slide by. Using football as an example again, there are many times that players hold other players(which is against the rules). Now because it may not have been blatant the referee will overlook it and allow them to continue to play. When involved in our blogging discussions many times we overlook the rules of engagement. Scientists demean Creationists because science doesnt back their story. The problem with this is many Creationists are not playing by those rules. The flip side to this scenario is blatantly obvious too. Faith isnt part of the rules for Scientists. Is it any wonder that they have a hard time playing together? Different games with different rules.

Is cheating or stretching the rules bad?

Interestingly enough, even within a certain domain(game) the rules very often get stretched a bit. This is very evident when looking at multiple versions of the same Theistic doctrine. Seems there are many ways to play a similar game. Funny thing is, Science isnt immune to this way of thinking either. Many times things dont react(scientifically) exactly the way the scientists first thought. So like any good gamer they adapt to the situation and add or subtract some "Rules". I guess we could consider that Evolution.

Evolution or Adaptation

When looking at each others belief system it may be prudent to realize that they cant be absolute. Because just as we are evolving, so are our beliefs. There only seems to be one absolute to life and that is it does not remain static, it is always in flux.

So  the next time you feel your mind to be a little "unruly", just remember she may not be playing the same game you are.